Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Hamilton and Inches

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March 1961.

Gold and silversmiths, jewellers, watch and clockmakers.

1866 The business was founded by Robert Kirk Inches and his uncle, James Hamilton. The firm opened its premises at 90A Princes Street, Edinburgh under the name of Hamilton & Inches, succeeding to Mackay, Cunningham & Co, where James Hamilton operated as Principal Assistant for 20 years.

1883 James Hamilton retired from the partnership leaving Robert Kirk Inches and his successors the right to continue the business using his name and leaving Robert in sole charge.

1887 they incorporated the old firm of Robert Bryson and Sons, and expanded into new premises including their own craftsmen's workshop at 87/88 Princes Street. The premises occupied part of a late 18th-century building, with a 19th-century shop front built out at ground level.

Received a Royal appointment as goldsmiths, silversmiths, clock & watchmakers to Queen Victoria.

1915 Robert Kirk Inches was elected Lord Provost of Edinburgh and Knighted in 1915. He died on 2nd August 1918.

Two of his sons followed the father into the family business. The elder, Robert Inches, suddenly died in 1900 while the younger, Edward James Inches, became partner in 1912 and continued to manage the firm until his death in 1934.

The business was continued by his eldest son Campbell, followed by his younger brother Ian Hamilton Inches

1950 Ian Hamilton Inches became the proprietor of the firm. He was assisted by his wife Deirdre "Betty" Inches as Consultative Director and by D. Ian T. Kinnear as Executive Director (1966).

1952 the firm moved to 87 George Street, Edinburgh.

Hamilton & Inches awarded a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II as silversmiths.

1992 The Inches sold the firm to the luxury group Asprey and Co.

1998 Management buy-out from Asprey. It is now the only Scottish manufacturing goldsmiths company to survive from 19th century.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Silver Collection